Steve Ballmer stated that Windows 8 will be risky for them, one of the reasons as seen by many is the enterprise upgrade cycle. The enterprise skipped Windows Vista based on several factors and most of them seem to be moving Windows 7 since the performance reviews and security features available in the OS are compelling reasons to upgrade. The enterprise market isn’t like the consumer market where users keep upgrading frequently. Rolling out something new in the enterprise is a phased process and as such re-doing the whole thing has to justify cost and time involved. The rate at which the enterprise is moving to Windows 7 (after skipping Vista) it indeed will be a challenge for Microsoft to convince CIOs and SMBs to invest in Windows 8, unless Microsoft does not introduce hardware upgrades as a necessity.
Microsoft recently has been sharing details about the success of deploying Windows 7 in SMBs and enterprises. The people involved talk about security features like BitLocker, ease of deployment in organizations and performance as reasons why they like Windows 7. Here are some videos:
City of Miami upgrading their infrastructure and being able to start a campaign to help the economically challenged citizens due to the cost in moving to Windows 7:
The video talks about the specific Windows 7 features leveraged by the city officials. The second video is about a private airline company that has deployed Windows 7:
In a post on the official Windows Team Blog, Microsoft has posted the story of a brewery deploying Windows 7, an excerpt from the post:
Tsingtao was able to minimize time IT administers spent on installation, which greatly decreased deployment costs. Tsingtao reported the rate of deployment for Windows 7 was 75% faster than with previous OS versions. Just 20% through its full company deployment, Tsingtao also found direct benefits to its mobile workforce and has reported greater efficiency due to the use of the new OS, which took minimal training.
There are two more videos from the SMB segment, one about an Accountant (focusing on data security):
Real Estate owner, talking about networking capabilities in Windows 7 Professional:
The sudden focus on Windows 7 Professional seems kinda interesting.